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Spasers Set to Sum: A New Dawn For Optical Computing


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Credit: Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty

It's a laser, but not as we know it. For a start, you need a microscope to see it. Gleaming eerily green, it is a single spherical particle just a few tens of nanometers across.

Tiny it might be, but its creators have big plans for it. With further advances, it could help to fulfill a long-held dream: to build a super-fast computer that computes with light.

Dubbed a "spaser," this minuscule lasing object is the latest by-product of a buzzing field known as nanoplasmonics. Just as microelectronics exploits the behavior of electrons in metals and semiconductors on micrometer scales, so nanoplasmonics is concerned with the nanoscale comings and goings of entities known as plasmons that lurk on and below the surfaces of metals.

From New Scientist
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